It was announced earlier today that the Ouya has been officially bought by Razer. Rumors about Ouya’s potential sale had been circulating for a while now. Today it is official.
I hadn’t written about the Ouya in a while but it has still held a pretty sweet spot in my gaming heart. So with this news, I am a bit saddened but hopeful.
There are several key pieces of news in this announcement. The first is that Ouya Founder and CEO Julie Uhrman is not staying. She saw the Ouya through to this point but is looking to move on. On Twitter she said:
.@juhrman OUYA was a once in a lifetime experience. Now, I'm off to find the next…stay tuned!
— Julie Uhrman (@juhrman) July 27, 2015
The next point is that the hard ware side of Ouya is likely dead. This buyout is only for the software and the technical and developer support structure. But the hardware is not part of it. Razer has its own hardware division and will be using that. So, we will have to say goodbye to the iconic Ouya console and controller.
Finally, Razer is buying the software division of Ouya and turning the brand into a mobile publishing brand. This will keep the software store on the Ouya alive for some time and will mean the Ouya brand and its games will be seen on many other platforms.
With that all out of the way, I wanted to express some thoughts on this.
The Ouya is probably the most excited I have ever been for a console in my life. As both a developer and a gamer, I was really excited to back the console. While I did not get in on the early developer access, I followed the news and developments until I got my first console.
Unfortunately, I was never able to publish a game on the Ouya. I am a slow developer and hadn’t got a game to a point where it was viable to release. However, the idea of an open and welcoming platform for indie devs is something I still want to see.
That is not likely going to be the Ouya. However, the Android powered microconsole is probably still going to be the one to do it. Mobile devices are currently the only mass market device that is fully open to indies. If those indies want to get in front of the tv, Android powered microconsoles are going to be the way to do it.
While PC is still the strongest indie platform out there, it does not have that direct to tv capability. Even with Valve’s Steam Box, it is still a very closed market with no simple way to play games on tv.
Finally, I never really understood the irrational hate the Ouya got. So many people were so quick to find any flaw with the Ouya, its marketing and those associated with it. There were just so many people out there that wanted the Ouya to fail, but they could never come up with an actual reason why it should. The Ouya survived despite these controversies.
Of course these are the same kinds of irrational complaints people have about anything new and disruptive. The Wii received a lot of the same comments. Tropes Vs. Women in Games got an inordinate amount of it. Anything that threatens the “hardcore gamer” crowd becomes a target of smear campaigns. Even if the thing they complain about is in their best interests.
So, those are just a few of my thoughts from this morning as I heard the news. So all the best to the crew at Ouya, to Julie Uhrman and to Razer.